The Robstown Cotton Pickers took the field for their final non-district contest of the season against the Ingleside Mustangs. They left it with a 38-30 victory and a sigh of relief. The 'Pickers overcame an early 10-point deficit, constant pressure in the red-zone, and a hobbled kicker to improve to 3-2 for the season.
The game just added to another intriguing chapter in the 'Pickers series with the Mustangs. "It's been like this the last three years we've played them," Robstown Coach Doug Wood said. "I'm proud of our kids for coming back and competing."
Things didn't start so good for the 'Pickers. An early special teams miscue started their opening drive deep in their own territory. Quarterback Randy Flores fumbled in his own end zone. Cordell Echols recovered it to give the Mustangs an early 7-0 lead.
The 'Pickers responded with a solid second quarter. Following a muffed punt, running back Marty Gutierrez scored from two yards out to get the 'Pickers on the board, down 10-7. Ingleside extended their lead back to 10 off a Marquis Barrolle touchdown, 17-7.
Flores would bury his early fumble and take over. On the following drive he capped off a 74-yard drive with a 14-yard pass to Joseph Gaona. The 'Pickers defense then forced a Mustang punt to take over on their own 33. Flores then raced up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown on the first play of the following drive. The score gave Robstown their first lead of the game, 21-17, with 1:13 left in the first half.
Flores ended the night with 208 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns.
Even with the little time left, Jesus Guerrero nabbed an interception to set-up another scoring opportunity. Also the team's kicker, Guerrero knock down a 37-yard field goal to give the team a 24-17lead at the half.
Refusing to give up their hard-earned lead, the Robstown defense came-up with back-to-back goal-line stands, shutting out the Mustangs in the third quarter. Early in the fourth quarter, Flores added another touchdown to extend the lead. Guerrero sat out for the extra-point after hurting his ankle earlier in the game. The 'Pickers successfully converted their two-point conversion to take the 32-17 lead.
While it looked like things were over, the Mustangs rallied. Quarterback Matt McHugh hooked up with receiver David McHugh on touchdown passes of seven and 92 yards late in the fourth quarter to cut the lead down, 32-30.
The 'Pickers moved into the hurry-up offense and moved all the way to the four-yard line. Flores ran it in on third and goal. Gutierrez attempted to kick the extra point despite the injury, but his protection broke down and the kick was blocked, putting the score at 38-30 with 1:13 left in the game.
Ingleside drove as far as the Robstown 12-yard line before the defense came up with another huge stand with 13 seconds left in the game.
Robstown will start their playoff march when they travel to West Oso High School for their first district contest.
"We've played a very tough non-district schedule," Wood said. "That was done purposely so we can get ready for next week."